Within the next several weeks Illinois-based Walgreens drug store chain is set to decide if it will become what President Obama referred to last week as a "corporate deserter" by tearing up its U.S. Citizenship in order to cut its corporate taxes.
Nothing too surprising -- those who pay more in federal taxes think they're too high; almost nobody thinks their tax bill is too low. But departing from the data a bit, there are two factors that I suspect have an impact on our general perceptions of tax fairness.
It's easy to understand why a professional golfer might believe editorials, politicians and e-mails that spread the myth of an America evenly divided between makers and takers, but it's harder to tolerate the malicious spreading of that fabrication.
All the legislation does is require that corporations disclose how much they pay to the state. Working families in the state are paying taxes. All we want to do is make sure the big corporations are doing the same. If they have nothing to hide, why do they care?
The New York Times published an extraordinary set of articles on tax policy as it actually exists in the United States -- beneath all of the politicians' rhetorical posturing and the all-too-frequent unquestioning and superficial press coverage.
Conservatives are trumpeting a new video in which a younger Obama embraces the dreaded socialist sin of redistribution. His earlier words will no doubt hurt Obama among some segment of the electorate -- even though most voters in both parties actually favor a host of redistributive policies.
We are currently having a debate in this country about fairness and our tax systems. That's a good debate to have. But insinuating that someone who pays a lower effective tax rate than you is somehow doing something unfair to you does not help the debate.
Too many of our leaders in Washington want to tell us that the only solution is for us to accept less and less -- less infrastructure, less education, less financial security -- while the rich continue to enjoy these low rates or even lower ones yet to come.
The wealthy have been paying a larger share of federal income taxes not because their tax rates have gone up -- in fact, they've gone down. It's because they've been collecting the lion's share of the growth for decades.
If the American people make their voices heard and put enough pressure on Congress, we can restore fairness in our economic system, do what's right for the middle class, and show that Congress can stand up to special interests.
We must mobilize Americans to reject economic inequality -- to vote for a society where we all stand together, where we have each other's backs -- and where we return the goal of reducing inequality to center stage where it belongs.
There is clearly room to increase taxes on higher earners. But instead of attempting to increase top marginal rates to extremely high levels, let's utilize the Alternative Minimum Tax to move the effective and marginal rates closer together.
Here's the bottom line: the GOP "Pledge for America" will raid your money to make their rich patrons even richer. The middle class will continue to wither away, and those who manage to hold on will be worse off than ever.